Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Powerful electron beam generator could combat anthrax

02.08.2002


A physics professor’s invention to decontaminate industrial wastewater could become a powerful new weapon against anthrax.



Peter McIntyre and a group of colleagues at Texas A&M University have developed a cost-effective device to produce high energy electron beams that can break down harmful organic molecules in water - and destroy bacteria such as anthrax in food - or even on mail.

"William Cooper at the University of North Carolina showed that high-powered beams of electrons are highly effective in destroying organic contaminants in water," McIntyre said. "The difference here is that we’ve upped the power produced and reduced the cost, producing four times more energy at a unit cost per kilowatt five times less than any other such instrument."


Over the past three years, McIntyre’s team has developed the Coupled Multiplier Accelerator (CMA), a completely self-contained high-power electron accelerator that produces 100 kilowatts of beam power at one million volts, supports multiple independent beams and has a total capital cost of less than $500,000, representing a new, more affordable generation of e-beam technology.

Basically, McIntyre’s machine produces an electron beam like that found in CRT’s. The beam raster scans the contaminated water like cathode rays scan the inside of a TV tube, ionizing the water to produce free radicals and inducing both oxidation and reduction reactions which "digest" organic contaminants.

"The same process causes double breaks in bacterial DNA bonds, killing them," McIntyre explained. "It could be used to kill anthrax spores, which are five times more difficult to kill than bacteria like e-coli, because the spores encase the anthrax in a hard protective shell."

McIntyre expects the first commercial CMA to be in place at a Houston-area petrochemical plant by December. The technology has been licensed to a small Texas company which will operate the system there, where it will be used to treat a condensate stream containing methyl terbutyl ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive. MTBE is harmful to humans, and some of its secondary breakdown products, like formaldehyde and acetone, are even more toxic.

"The CMA is key to making lots of e-beam, supporting multiple beams needed for effective treatment in most real-world applications and doing it with a simple, reliable system that is economical for industrial applications," McIntyre said. "The basis of the technology is in every automobile - the alternator."

McIntyre’s CMA uses two 125 hp electronic motors to drive 16 alternators. Each alternator outputs a three-phase alternating current that is boosted by a transformer and rectified by a voltage multiplier circuit to produce high-voltage direct current. The 16 modules are connected in series to produce up to two megavolts of beam energy with up to 200 kilowatts of power. The entire accelerator - voltage source, electron guns and accelerator columns - is housed in a 14-foot-long, 9-foot-diameter pressurized steel vessel.

McIntyre’s CMA project team includes Texas A&M professors Akhdior Sattarov (physics), Bill Batchelor (civil engineering) and Bruce Herbert (geophysics) and Charles Meitzler of Sam Houston State University, as well as six graduate students, four undergrads and four professional technicians.

"You might say that man is the easiest organism to kill, but anthrax is one of the hardest," McIntyre observed. "We hope the CMA can equalize the odds a bit."


Contact: Judith White, 979-845-4664, jw@univrel.tamu.edu;
Peter McIntyre, p-mcintyre@tamu.edu


Judith White | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>